06 April 2010

Climate Science Dream Team

The students in my graduate seminar on science and technology policy are in the midst of a unit on scientific advisory committees. Part of this unit is a project to create a hypothetical science advisory committee in the area of climate science. The rules of the assignment are that
  • they can pick anyone in the world
  • the committee must be a "science arbitration" panel as described in The Honest Broker
  • the focal area is "physical climate science" a la IPCC Working Group I
  • the committee can have no more than 12 members
The purpose of the committee is to stand ready to respond to questions posed by policy makers, nationally and internationally, about physical climate science. Consistent with the notion of "science arbitration" questions about "what to do" are not part of the remit of the committee. We have discussed guidelines for empaneling such a committee as recommended to the Obama Administration by the Bipartisan Policy Center. However, the class groups are free to choose whomever they want and to justify those selections however they'd like.

The assignment is about looking inside the "black box" of expert committee empanelment and the role that scientific and extra-scientific considerations play in selecting a committee. Our discussion in class yesterday centered on this subject.

We have divided the class into 3 groups, and each is coming up with their own proposed committee and press release. The students, who come from a wide range of disciplines, are highly qualified for their role. They are doing a great job so far and the exercise has been a rich experiment for a range of reasons. The class is enthusiastic about getting your feedback on their products which we are going to post up here for public comment. Feel free to discuss the project and offer any advice to the class that might be useful in the comments here.

So stay tuned -- climate science dream teams coming soon.